Thursday, June 30, 2011

Treasures from the Used Bookstore
The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Two-in-one 9 Piece Puzzle
For .50 cents each at the NCJW "outlet" on Fairfax, I picked up Sandra Boynton's A to Z alphabet book (Boynton is one of the canonical writers of toddlerdom at this point, so I just grab everything I can find from her), a two-sided nine-piece The Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzle, and a Scholastic paperback edition of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka. If I were being pretentious I would say that it appears tobe a great way to teach about literary point of view and unreliable narrators. LOL. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Today's Treasures from the Used Bookstore

I had a few minutes after my eye appointment before I picked up Jackson, so I visited the baby resale store where I sold some of Jackson's baby gear. I had a credit and I have fewer needs for the sort of "equipment" that they sell there, so I decided to blow the whole amount on my favorite thing: children's books. I went over my credit by a couple dollars, so each of these books ended up costing .37.

(1) Little Bear, (2) My First Book of Animals, (3) If You Made a Million, (4) All About Alfie, (5) Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever, (6) The Ramayana

Little Bear (An I Can Read Book)
(1) Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak (1957). This was the very first I Can Read book, and it's illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Sold! (It's four classic adorable stories in one, all about a little bear's busy day of imaginative adventures--including a trip to the moon--with the loving support of Mother Bear.)

(2) My First Book of Animals (1994) is a illustrated Scholastic guide to "more than 150 animals every child should know." I had just made a mental note to get an animal book at the library next time we went since the kid sometimes won't go to bed because he's so freakin' excited about the giraffe on his wall. Anyway, this will do nicely! I let Jackson page through it on the way home from daycare, and heard nothing but non-stop "Wow! Wow! Wooow!" as he looked it over.

Most of the book is in an "illustrated encyclopedia" format but there are several of these two-page full-color spreads that depict several animals from one ecosystem. (Jackson signed "fish" went we got to the underwater animals page!)

(3) If You Made a Million by David Schwartz, illustrated by the amazing Steven Kellogg (1989). This is the sequel to their classic How Much Is a Million, which uses Marvelissimo the Magician to illustrate the concept of a million somethings to kids. This book focuses on money, including how money works in general and what $1 million looks like in various denominations of cash. I didn't realize there was a sequel to the first one, but now I find that there's also a third in the series, Millions to Measure, so I'll keep that on my mental shopping list as well.

(4) All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes (1981+), a collection of four stories about Alfie, a chubby preschooler, and his little sister, toddler Annie Rose. I've had my antenna up for this as well, because Alfie comes so highly recommended by Jim Trelease of The Read-Aloud Handbook fame. Trelease said he'd include Alfie stories on his initial read-aloud list if he encountered a class of children that had never been read to before, and he even included a scan of one page as an illustration of the idea that "the amount of text on the page should grow with the child's attention span."

Forgive my overexposed photo! This is a spread from "Alfie's Feet," a story about Alfie's new rain galoshes, or to use the proper British word: wellies!

(5) Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever (~1986), i.e. score! This copy is in great condition, and it includes a really nice array of his work, from the more painterly stories of his early days to his later, more cartoon-esque work. The Amazon comments reveal that many of the "international escapade" chapters are drawn from the now out-of-print Richard Scarry's Busy Busy World, which one commenter called "Anthropomorphic racism at its best. Very unPC and fun. Three cheers for 'Robber Soup' and Couscous the best detective ever!" LOL. Will definitely keep an eye out for that as well, if only for the resale value of $50 to $300! Gotta love that boomer nostalgia. Also found it interesting that William J. Bennett includes Best Storybook Ever on his list of "Thirty Great Books Every Preschooler Should Meet" in The Educated Child. From what I can tell, it's also the only anthology included in the list, so I'm gonna guess that the Bennetts had this in their household because it strikes me as being very...specific.

I am a Golden Books junkie. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

The front endpapers are illustrated with a happy sun that greets the reader with a cheerful "Good morning!" (Inscription: August 20, 2000 - Dear Aidan, Celebrating you and your Christening Day, with love, Ian & Muriel)

The back endpapers are illustrated with a crescent moon wishing the reader farewell, "Good night! Sleep tight!"

From the section about colors, this spread about blue gives a good sense of Scarry's more traditional style from the beginning of his career.

The book fell open to this amazing spread about the Swiss Guard at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Cartoon or not, this is sophisticated work!

This spread, from one of the last of the 82 stories and sections, is about one Mr. Schtoomptah, "the funny Austrian."

(6) The Ramayana by Pulak Biswas, illustrated by Anupa Lal (1989). I have a compulsion to buy children's illustrated versions of great world literature, even if I have no familiarity with the original material and/or I have no idea if the kid would ever have use for it. Believe it or not, this is actually the second copy of the Ramayana in my house. I am aware I might be overdoing it a little. Anyway, I really like that this is an import from India. Damn, I just googled and now I'll probably have to get the same author's Tales from Indian Classics from 1990. I HAVE A DISEASE.






This book and this fabric elephant both made a long trek from India to end up at our house.

Thank you for joining me for another fun book tour!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Signs Only
  1. Fish - Sign
  2. Tree - Sign
  3. Eat, food - Sign
  4. Cheerios - Sign (invented)
  5. More - Sign, mostly used in the context of Cheerios
  6. Light - Sign, maybe (sorta waves his arm in the direction of the light and is satisfied when I turn it on or off)
  7. Milk - Two-fisted sign, always performed with the greatest of urgency
  8. Hot - He knows how to use this for both hot food and general hot weather.
Signs and Words
  1. Bird - Sign, sometimes "Burr..."
  2. Cat - Sign and word
  3. Ball - Sign (he has the sign all wrong, but consider it a baby accent) and word
  4. Bye - Sign (waves) and word
Words Only
  1. Dog - Word; he applies this word to virtually all animals. Show him a lion, a monkey or a lizard, and he'll tell you it's a "Dog." I think he thinks "dog" means "general representative from the animal kingdom."
  2. Duck - Word; despite what I said above about everything being "dog," it's clear (to me, at least) that "duck" is a separate word
  3. Baby - Word
  4. Keys - Word, sounds like "eez"
  5. Bubble - Word
  6. Giraffe - Word, sounds like "juh-waaaf"
  7. Momom - Word
  8. Daddee - Word
  9. Lady - Word, reserved for passersby, not relatives or familiar people
  10. Bottle - Word, one of his many similar-sounding "B" words, I'll give him credit for this because he clearly points at the bottle and draws out the word.
  11. Yeah, yes - Word, this is probably his most common word overall. Ask this kid anything and he says, "Yeah!" He has never said the word no, but he is a master of the "vigorous head shake and push away" move in the place of actual language.
  12. Wow! - He totally learned this from his friend Xander at school who says "Wow!" in a very particular cadence.
Animal Sounds
  1. Cow - Won't say "cow" ("dog") but always says "Mooo..."
  2. Sheep - Won't say "sheep" (although he doesn't say "dog" in this case) but always says "Baa!"
Other Communication Things
  1. He's repeated words like goat, drum, flowers, bowl, door, bear, spoon and other things I've said to him, but those have all been one-offs so far. 
  2. He can also point to his head, hair, mouth, teeth, tongue, belly and feet, by request. He can find my nose, but when I ask him to find his nose, he pokes himself in the eye instead.
  3. He totally points at stuff and asks, "What is sis?" meaning, "What is this?" or "What is that?"
  4. He might be starting to say, "OK" as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today's Treasures from the Used Book Store


Grandma and grandpa have baby Jackson on Friday afternoons and I left work early--let's say it was because of the company's official Summer Fridays policy and not because I could give a fig about my job--so I had a little time to hit a couple of thrift stores on the way home, looking for more books for the kiddo's library. Because of the early hour I dared brave Santa Monica Blvd. in the vicinity of the 405, which takes me past the NCJW shop and a Goodwill. The NCJW was a total wash, with horrible parking to boot, but the Goodwill had a couple of gifts to give up. I have to stop shopping there though, since the prices are quite high as far as used books go.

(1) Horton Hears a Who adds to the collection of Seuss I'm building for the kiddo. I was afraid I already had it, but upon double-check, I was thinking of its predecessor Horton Hatches an Egg. Jackson spotted the book immediately when I put him in the car, and happily flipped through the pages from his carseat on the way home. I tried a formal read when we got home, but he wasn't having it no matter how much I emphasized, "But...elephants!"


(2) I've long heard tell of The 13 Clocks by James Thurber and I couldn't be more in love with this copy, which is a treasure of character. I barreled through the whole thing tonight, and this book is like one long language-gasm. Your child will get a perfect verbal SAT score just from standing near the vocabulary words, and he or she will know everything there is to know about the hero's journey without ever having encountered Joseph Campbell. There are apparently two illustrated versions of The 13 Clocks, this is the earlier version by Marc Simont, and his work reminds me of another one of my mid-century faves, Joan Kiddell-Monroe.


No dustjacket on this volume (I believe this is the original dustjacket artwork) but don't worry, a helpful past owner has written the title on the front board!


Illustrated endpaper with note: "I had this book since i was in 8th grade. I am 13 years old going to 14. When i grow up i will pass this to my kids"


Just when you think it couldn't get any cuter, you find a Hello Kitty bookmark securing pages 31 through 38. 

And now, for you illustration junkies...


The lady Saralinda


The 13 clocks of the title


The dastardly Duke


The Golux's alcoholic stag-horned wizard father (what--doesn't everybody have one of those?)


The road to Hagga's hut


Spoiler alert: Saralinda's nurse was a spell-casting witch!


The hero of the tale, and his mysterious advisor, the Golux.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Homeschool and Read-Aloud Resources


I'm quitting my job soon to stay home with Jackson, so I have terrible senioritis at work and spend a lot of time reading homeschooling forums and children's book blogs. To give back a little, and because it breaks my heart that they both aren't better known, I put together reference resources on a couple of book series that I love. Should you happen to be planning to educate your child at home using either a Charlotte Mason twaddle-free approach or in the Well-Trained Mind trivium system, these posts might be of interest to you.

Remembering the World Mythologies Series of Illustrated Books

Rediscovering Children's Choice Book Club Books, Affordable Vintage Editions of Great Storybooks
Jackson Learned to Walk!

Dog...Dog...Dog
Ball...Ball...Ball

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just another one of my digital permaculture bookmarks:



Farm for the Future, from BBC Natural World